Identifying what you want to do

Jun 13, 2019

Author: Gill Thackray – CABA coach, business psychologist and Guardian contributor

“I just don’t know what I want to do!” It’s a common statement when you’re thinking about changing direction, whether it’s a new career you’re considering or simply changing your daily routine. Change takes us out of our comfort zone and sometimes there’s so much choice, we’re paralysed because we just don’t know where to begin.

The perfect starting point is to look at your own values. What is truly important to you? Our values are our personal GPS for life. Once you’ve got these defined, you have a roadmap to guide your choices and potential next steps and a way to identify if they are a good fit with what you want from life.

Ask yourself, “Where do I want to be in five years’ time?” and after that, “What do I want to learn in the next five years?” When you have the answers, write them down and think about how you are going to move yourself towards your goals, one step at a time. Break your larger goals down into manageable, achievable, smaller goals.

Consider ‘Branching Projects’. You don’t have to walk into the office and hand in your notice tomorrow. Make a list of all the possibilities that you are considering and then choose one that you can work on part-time. Perhaps you are considering being a yoga teacher? Research what you need to do, shadow an established teacher for a day and find out more about that particular area - it’s a way of dipping your toe in the water and finding out more without committing yourself fully. This way you can try out a number of possibilities to find out if they’re a good ‘fit’ for you.

Pay attention to what makes your heart sing. Take notice of your enthusiasm, motivation and energy levels when you’re considering ‘where next’? This will provide you with a huge clue as to what might be a ‘good fit’ for your skills and abilities. Examine your assumptions about the ‘type’ of person you think you are, how much you think you ‘need’ to earn, where you ‘need’ to live or who others think you ‘should be’ and challenge your thinking.

Complete an audit. Recognise where you are now, identify what you’ve achieved and how you got there. All of your existing strengths will help you on the road to moving on to the next challenge.

And finally, don’t forget to enjoy the journey!

Article reproduced with the kind permission of CABA, the organisation providing lifelong support to ICAEW members, ACA students and their close family around the world.